Posted on June 3rd, 2017 - Fiona
Earlier in the year we were under government restrictions for our chickens and ducks. Farmer Nick spent his Christmas holidays building a luxury hen house and we even gave them a nature filled toy to keep them entertained. For chickens living indoors, life didn’t get much better than this. Our ducks on the other hand were more squished in the old Peacock enclosure and as soon as the ban was lifted they were straight back into the field to enjoy the space and their pond. With the ducks and geese turning broody we delayed letting the hens back into the field and kept egg hunting with the children to the chicken house for spring. However with our ducklings now thriving and geese abandoning their nest as usual, the chickens returned to join them in time for half term.
All change with a new hen house
In their winter hen house, the chickens had been laying better than ever before; we soon figured out this was because the crows couldn’t find their way in and steel the eggs ahead of our morning visit. Before we released the chickens Farmer Nick built a tall laying hen house within the field to look just like the laying section of the winter chicken home. The hope was that instead of laying eggs in patches of stinging nettles and letting the crows steel them they would use the new mini hen house in the field. I’m thrilled to say the theory is working and the children have more eggs to run in and collect than they know what to do with; even on a busy half term holiday week.
Egg collecting is a morning treat
It’s fair to say not everything is pleased to see the children back in the field
But our sociable chickens are more than happy to be cuddled
Or even exposed to a few test flights with their newly clipped wings
Mummy duck kicks up a fuss as we coo over her babies but they are soon all reunited.
It has been a wonderful half term here, not only are the ducks and chickens happy in their free range field again, but we had a surprise end of season lamb born and the older children loved helping out with moving the alpaca to a new field for fresh grazing.
I hope your half term has been a happy one too.
Posted on June 2nd, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust #30DaysWild along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Half term fun from the farm
We began our half term with the most spectacular overnight Thunderstorm I think I’ve ever seen. It was great right up until the point I released it had taken out the WiFi in time for changeover. Thank goodness for paper back up or I’d have had no idea who was arriving or where! We were back online late afternoon and since then we have enjoyed a mostly dry and really quite warm week here on the farm. Our chickens are back free ranging with the ducks ( more about that tomorrow on the blog) we had an unexpected new born lamb and my own children have been hanging out down by the river with the older guests staying. I hope your half term has been a happy one with a few adventures to share on the link up below.
Guidelines for Joining in:
- Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
- Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
- Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
- If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
- Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
- Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
- I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
My top commenters from last week:
- Helena from The Queen of Collage who commented on 17 posts.
- Merlinda from Glimmer of Hope who commented on 16 posts.
- Louise from Little Hearts Big Love & Dean from Mothers Little Steps who commented on 10 posts.
We have no bloggers link dumping this week, although do remember I comment count on Thursday after lunch so get your comments in before then if you want them to be counted.
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
May Welly Winner
Congratulations to Sonia from the Mammaschool, who always embraces outdoor learning and fun and has been top commenter last month with this lovely post about calming everyone with a beach trip. Sonia please email or DM me your choice of wellies showing in stock from the amazing Rockfish selection and a UK delivery address.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the June Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter: Helena from Queen of Collage
West Country Mum has been studying the ocean with a lovely beach trip and a visit to the Sealife Centre
Learning about Buoyancy led to an afternoon of garden fun in the sun with Little hearts Big Love
Country Kids Communities
I’d love you to join me:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.
Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.
Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 4150 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @mummy_and_the_mexicans @him_me_three@jollyjilly58 @ladybirdsadventures . Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following
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Posted on June 2nd, 2017 - Fiona
The beautiful old market town of Lostwithiel is a tourist attraction all year round with its quaint train station, river, antique shops and quirky boutiques along twisted narrow lanes. Once a year the usual peace and quiet is replaced by LostFest, the Lostwithiel Festival held each year for just one day. We have been before and loved it, as it is only half an hour from Coombe Mill and fits nicely between the morning farm run and evening train ride here. A dry day makes all the difference and as the sun was shining we picked up a couple of Clio’s friends and Guy and set off.
I had forgotten how pretty Lostwithiel is in May with the wisteria draped over the old cottages.
Thankfully we had agreed meet up points as it was busy and the kids were off exploring while I was admiring the cottages. Delicious smells finally made everyone hungry and brought us back together after enjoying a good wander around the craft stalls with delicious smells from the pop up food stands around. Nick and I couldn’t resist buying the giant Greek olives and sweet deserts we love for supper and I fell in love with a printed reversible skirt that even came in its own pretty reusable bag.
Food is a big part of the Festival and we were spoiled for choice. Having older children with their own tastes and ideas we just sent them off with money to make their own choices while we enjoyed a Mexican feast watching the world go by down by the river. Here we reminisced on previous years when the children were younger and would play on the rope swing still hanging from a tree on the far riverbank. Guy caught us up with ice cream in hand and announced that he was going to go and join the kids in the river.
I barely had time to grab my camera and head up onto the bridge before I saw him taking over the rope and land in the river! I think at this point he wished his brother Jed had come along too; the pair of them would have been showing off for hours.
Without the girls wanting to go in he was soon out and swapping a t shirt for a hoodie and joining us watching a very clever crafter turn hazel sticks into flowers. Nick and Guy watched with interest as each flower was made in about 5 minutes. My husband is all charm and even bought me one for £2 to see if we could recreate them from our willow bush.
Meanwhile the girls had found the face painting tent and all came out with glittery moonshine faces.
However they were less than impressed when Guy took to bashing them all over the head with his newly purchased inflatable hammer!
We stopped to watch the classic Morris Dancing in the street before winding our way home after another lovely LostFest day.
Thank you all at Lostwithiel who work to bring this day together. It was a great atmosphere with some really interesting stalls and wonderful live entertainment. We are looking forward to LostFest 2018 already.
Posted on May 29th, 2017 - Fiona
The importance of Water Safety
Here at Coombe Mill with a river and two lakes we know just how important water safety is. In the summer season the children love to play in the river and providing the current is gentle enough it is something we encourage. For our younger guests we try to keep a few arm bands and floats in our boot room to borrow alongside the wetsuits as a little extra security for parents. Even when the river isn’t suitable to swim in here we have a link up with our friends at Camelford Leisure Centre where Coombe Mill guests can swim in a full length heated indoor pool free of charge. The Camelford Pool has a life guard on duty but it is still the responsibility of the parent to ensure their child is safe in the water at all times. For non swimmers a swim aid such as Aquaplane is peace of mind for holiday fun.
Aquaplane: The New Swim Aid
Move over arm bands, there’s a new swim aid come to kick you into touch! Aquaplane is the brain child of swim instructor Chris Shore, who has coached many championship swimmers, and he says:
‘It’s all about feeling confident and safe. Aquaplane straps to a child’s back, leaving their arms free from resistance, enabling them to stretch out in the water, and achieve the correct body position naturally and easily’.
Aquaplane is perfect for building water confidence and a feeling of being able to float with limbs free to splash, however it also adapts to take a child through all the different stages to further their swimming techniques as Chris explains:.
‘Aquaplane will help a child to learn to swim on their back, too. The wide & low profile enables the learner to have more balance and the patented design gives a superior streamlined position compared to all other swimming aids.
Once your child is through the early stages of development, you can then remove the straps and Aquaplane can be used as a kick board to enhance stroke development.
As further progress is achieved, Aquaplane turns into a performance tool to build stamina and strength.’
What we thought of Aquaplane
We put Aquaplane to the test with a family staying with us who were going swimming at Camelford. The girls at age 4 had already mastered the beginnings of swimming and used the Aquaplane as a float. This is what their Mum had to say on their return:
When we got to the pool they both tried the aqua plane as a float to practice kicking, it worked well and the girls enjoyed it. They loved the rocket shape and it was comfy for them to hold. I was also amazed at how quickly it dried.
The following week the Aquaplane was borrowed again, this time using the straps to allow freedom for arms as well as legs whilst giving body support. I asked the Mum how she found the product and she told me:
“The straps adjust easily to ensure the float fits comfortably and securely in place giving our daughter confidence to splash.”
Need to know Facts for Aquaplane:
Pack contents ||
Float and 2 body straps|
Suitable for||children aged from 3 upwards|
|Endorsed by||Two luminaries in championship swimming – Chris Shore, Chris Cooke (Team GB Athens ’04 and Beijing, ’08) as well as swimming instructor and Commonwealth Games team member, Dan Coombs (Delhi’10)|
Win your Aquaplane Swim Aid with Hippychick and Coombe Mill
If you know someone learning to swim this summer that would benefit from an aquaplane, why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below.
We were sent our aqua plane from Hippychick for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and those of our visitors who tested it for me. Our Aquaplane is available for Coombe Mill guests to borrow from the boots and wetsuit room.
Posted on May 27th, 2017 - Fiona
Last week I couldn’t wait to share our exciting new family holiday lodge, Polzeath. A week on I am proud to say our first holiday makers have rebooked to return again next year. This is the best sign that we really found the perfect holiday home design in there. Following all the hard work of building Polzeath, my promise on Monday’s post was to try to spend more quality family time over the summer months at our holiday lodge namesake, Polzeath Beach. What I didn’t realise was that my first opportunity would roll round so fast. It was the end of a busy changeover day here at the farm and with all the guests in, and the family fed, I donned my “Mum’s taxi” hat to drive Theo’s girlfriend home. The evening sun had already left the valley when we left but was now dazzling me as I drove towards the coast and I had a sudden craving to breathe in some sea air. When I suggested to the pair in the back seats I extend their time together watching the sunset at Polzeath they were quick to agree. We parked up on the cliff top for our impromptu visit where I filled my senses with sea air and the beautiful setting sun while they playfully strolled ahead.
Polzeath Beach on a Summer’s Evening
What none of us knew as we wandered carefree across the beach were the horrors waiting to unfold at Manchester Arena. Theo’s two older brothers were at the Arena for a concert just a few weeks ago. It feels like everyone has some kind of connection, even me from my quiet corner of Cornwall. My heart goes out to all affected by events that Monday evening.
My thanks go to my lovely models who agreed to feature in my photos. Trust me there is no taking this for granted with teenagers.